Heart hurts. And your voice matters.

by | Nov 25, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

I had a blog post queued up for today that I’m really excited about, but I couldn’t send out the regularly scheduled message. I will publish it tomorrow. Today anything else seems trivial to me.

Today this.

I live in Oakland, which some people say is the up-and-coming Brooklyn of the West Coast, and many people think is scary, and I think my neighborhood is marvelous because it is friendly and racially diverse in a way that no other place in the United States is that I have ever lived in or visited.

Last night I got an email from about the Ferguson ruling and then I heard the whirring helicopters overhead. The police were out to monitor the hundreds of people who started streaming by my building. Hundreds of people shut down the freeway for hours. I did not join the protests. I went to dance tango. But something in me ached. My heart.

How can we just go on with everyday life when it has become so commonplace for young people (black young people) to be killed by the police?

This morning on the radio I heard about a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland (such a cute face) who was killed by police recently at a playground because he had a toy gun. According to this Cleveland report, the shooting came “after officers responded to a 911 call about someone waving what the caller described as a ‘probably fake’ gun.”

According to a New York Times editorial today “The Meaning of the Ferguson Riots“:

“The case resonated across the country — in New York City, Chicago and Oakland — because the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast. This point was underscored last month in a grim report by ProPublica, showing that young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk — 21 times greater — of being shot dead by police than young white men. These statistics reflect the fact that many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.”

I ran into an acquaintance at a cafe today. Jonathan Bender helps people with self-expression and personal transformation through reclaiming their voices. We talked about Michael Brown and Ferguson. Jonathan stayed up late making a video blog about speaking up about what matters most to us, whether that’s in conversation, on social media, in speaking, on a blog, or anywhere at all.

Jonathan’s message is: “What you say matters. What you don’t say equally matters. We can only create our world when we take responsibility for speaking up to say what we believe.”

This is true. I want to speak up more.

The way you speak up will be unique to you. What you say will be unique to you. I don’t know that you feel about this case but I assume you have deeply help beliefs about the world.

Whatever matters most to you, speaking up matters. Your voice will ripple in ways that you cannot imagine.


  1. Tiffany

    Thank you for interrupting your regularly schedule post to share this thought. I for one was proud of the protest and how great it was that many came together in “scary” Oakland to hold what I’d consider a fairly peaceful protest and stand up for their rights. Shoot I think more damage was done when the Giants won.

    It’s sad what those in power can get away with.

    • sasha

      I was really proud of the response as well. We need to get up in arms about this pattern of dehumanization and injustice and do it in the way that feels right for us. The statistic from ProPublica says it all. Thanks Tiffany!

  2. G

    Healing. Thank you.

    • sasha

      Thank you G 🙂

  3. Scott McGrew

    Thoughtful piece. Two important details though: we’re not told the witness thought it was a fake gun. Secondly the gun was a perfect replica, with the orange safety plug deliberately removed.

  4. Rafaela Martins

    Bem, vou deixar meu comentário em português visto que ainda não escrevo/falo fluente em inglês e também não quero usar o Tradutor,para não ficar sem sentido, mas espero que consiga entender a mensagem.
    Aqui no Brasil, principalmente aqui onde moro, em Salvador-BA, muitos jovens negros são assassinados, sequestrados pela polícia (não só por ela, claro)… O caso mais recente é o do jovem Davi (http://www.cartacapital.com.br/sociedade/sumico-do-garoto-davi-poe-pm-baiana-em-xeque-9799.html / http://g1.globo.com/bahia/noticia/2014/11/apos-caso-ser-transferido-para-dhpp-mae-de-davi-fiuza-vai-pedir-apoio-pf.html)
    É uma triste realidade que está presente em vários lugares. Respeito e admiro os protestos que estão acontecendo aí, é necessário gritar!

    • sasha

      Obrigada Rafaela! For those who don’t speak Portuguese, the message is about the killings of black people in Brazil, especially in Salvador, the Afro-Brazilian capital of Brazil. A sad reality in many places and it is necessary to protest!

  5. Chelsea

    I haven’t really been able to complete a sentence about any of this without expletives but I wanted to say thank you and me too.

    • sasha

      Cool Chelsea, I am glad. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Jill

    I’m vowing right now to join you in speaking, about injustices done to the black community or any other. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  7. Paula White

    Hi Sasha,

    It’s Paula White. How are you? Thank you for your post. Believe it or not, even in the face of fear, I still believe it is important to dance the tango in this life. Nothing and no one should ever steal your joy. That is one important thing I learned as a professional caregiver. If your cup isn’t full, you have nothing to offer to help any person, place or situation, especially situations like these.

    Also, as a fellow writer, I have said it before and I will say it again: It is not what you say, but how you say it and it is not what you do, but how you do it if that makes any sense, particularly with issues like these.

    I also agree that injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere. It effects everyone. Maybe it is not evident right away, but when it does become so, it is obvious that everyone is affected. I have worked as a nurse for 14 years. I have worked with many people of every age, race, religion, socioeconomic level and sexual orientation background. I have learned and benefitted a lot from my patients. I sincerely mean it when I say that every community deserves to have the chance to thrive and flourish.

    Further, I also feel it is necessary to remain solutions oriented, especially with issues like these. For example, I know I didn’t talk about this during the Get Quirky class when I talked about my experience at a local citizen police academy, but a major disagreement happened with someone in class with one of the fellow police officers.

    I told you about my psychiatric nursing experience. Literally, I can fill up a bookshelf based on that one job alone. I worked with a lot of trauma patients. I also worked with a lot of police officers.

    I told both the police officer who was teaching the class and the student who was upset with the local police department in an incident that happened with the student’s family member, who was no more than 4 years old. It was a little similar to the Cleveland incident. The child was traumatized. I told the student, the class and the police officer teaching the class about resources for victims of trauma.

    It was amazing to me that no one know about the resources that were right around the corner from where they lived, including this cop who was teaching the class and he patrolled that area everyday. I find myself giving out a lot of information, particularly as it relates to quality trauma treatment. This police academy was no exception.

    I also told the police officer who was teaching the class that police officers are not the only people who have ever felt threatened on the job. It happens even with healthcare. I even cited examples from my work experiences. It is something the teacher of this police academy had NOT considered. It seemed that getting multiple points of views also helped the situation. Even the people in class said so.

    I also have to add that the information offered in the police academy actually helped me earlier this year. The police academy had a class on what to do if we were ever in a situation with an active shooter. Do you realize that something like that happened TWO MONTHS LATER RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY JOB?!?!?

    There was a 21 hour standoff that went on the national news. Two police officers were shot, seven hostages were taken five if which were kids, but I came out okay because of the police academy training. I even called the teacher of my police academy afterwards and told him so.

    Interestingly enough, that same police officer sent me an e mail tonight inviting me to a get together no doubt to talk about this new court ruling. After our citizen police academy, a contact list was developed. He told me previously that he appreciated my input and I feel he probably would like to have it again. He invited everyone from the previous police academies to get together to just talk to one another about all of this. I mean like have a civil conversation before tensions mount.

    While I appreciate the sentiment, I won’t be able to make it, but the type of exchange I am describing is actually uncommon. I know this. Still, it is this type of outreach is sorely missing in situations like Cleveland and Missouri. Both the teacher of my police academy class and the entire class themselves said so.

    Thank you for your post. Thanks for listening.


    Paula White


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Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

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